Stupid Is as Stupid Is

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

Stupid Is as Stupid Is

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

Stupid Is as Stupid Is
An email conversation about the news of the day.
May 16 2000 3:01 PM

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

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Bart:

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I didn't want to tell you about my novel, but now that you ask, it's about a nice Jewish-American reporter awash in Jerusalem, a sort of comic sex romp through the Middle East, starring: YOU!!!!

No, in fact, much less amusing: It's about a dead Palestinian baby and a good-hearted Israeli soldier (these are not, by the way, the two types of people who engage in bad sex together in the book). It's as easy to write bad sex well as it is to write good sex badly--so I chose bad sex. Hope that makes sense to you.

My good soldier is like one of the nice-guy conscripts you refer to, whom you seem to think are so common in the Israeli army. When I showed my book to an Israeli, he said, "Well, a guy like your soldier COULD exist in the IDF, I suppose. Seems a stretch." Palestinians agree.

I was just reading my favorite publication, W. (Not named after le governeur de Texas, in case you didn't know. It's a FASHION magazine, Bart.) In Dubya this week is a great story about what they call BWB. Babes With Brains. The Dubya editors prefer Erin Brockovich to Karen Silkwood ("mousy," they pronounce Silk) because Brocko has "cleavage spillover from her bra" and is a "miniskirted legal eagle." Also, the movie about her is more recent, though the Dubya editors don't mention this as a factor.

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Another BWB from "history", according to Dubya, is Esther (of Esther and Haman fame--see the Megillah--your wife will know what that is, Bart; Dubya thinks Esther must be smart because she's Jewish, but then, look at the Israeli army. Oh. Ooops. Sorry, Bart.).

They admire Shakespeare's Gertrude (fictional), who married so fast after her husband died that it made Hamlet's head spin. Aphrodite is cited (the actual goddess of beauty and probably fictional, too, but that doesn't stop Dubya; it's like saying God is a Guy With Gumption--GWG). And the other two BWBs from history that the Dubya editors point to (really, I am not kidding) are Scarlett O'Hara (fiction) and--this is tooooo embarrassing--Nancy Drew (fiction). They like these girls because they know how to flirt men into extinction.

They do not mention, say, Donna Hanover or your co-coopdweller Judy N. But according to them, Christy Turlington (um, she's a model, Bart) is apparently Einstein. (To go on with the connection between Jews and brains, etc., I believe Einstein could have been an early Israeli prime minister if he had wished, simply on the strength of his hairdo. But not Turlington.)

Fortunately, Dubya has the brainy and blunt Fran Lebowitz (Brains to the Socialites) to tell them that "Being beautiful is not what makes you stupid. Being stupid is what makes you stupid."

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Speaking of Dubya, did you see that George W. "Being Stupid Is What Makes You Stupid" Bush is leading Al Gore in a NYTimes/CBS poll, and it's all a question of "leadership"? There can be only two reasons for this public perception:

1) Those polled believe George Dubya to be his father, who was once president, and who therefore must be a leader

2) Gore is so pathetic that Dubya seems like a strong leader in comparison

Otherwise, please explain.

Yours,

Amy

 

A former Pentagon, Middle East, and diplomatic correspondent, Barton Gellman is special projects reporter for the Washington Post. Amy Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier. She writes frequently about the Middle East and is finishing a novel about Jerusalem.